Maybe it is just because E. has been traveling a lot for work and our lives have been so full I haven't had much time for stillness and practice lately, but there has been some darkness gnawing around the edges of things for me.
There is the little girl who was taken and just found, no longer herself. Normally I don't, but I am unraveled by this one--she has glasses just like Addie's. Around the same age. In our area. I had to have the stranger talk with the girls again, which is always so difficult. Nolie especially is so trusting that I think it would take just a stick of gum or something. I feel obliged to scare her just a little so she'll be careful. I worry he his reading this, knows their names. It would be my fault.
But then I also think this is such a small part of the world, and that most humans are really quite good, and I don't want to be the one who placed the sour lens of suspicion over my girls' eyes. That will come soon enough.
Remember: to love, to pray for that family, not to retreat into fear. This is not about me. This is not about us.
The darkness re-enters, though, and I think that some very troubled people have most likely taken the sweet pictures I have posted of my girls here over the years and have used them for nefarious reasons, and I feel sick to my stomach that I have made them vulnerable in some way to these peoples' eyes, that innocent pictures of my children are no longer my own and how could I have.
The desire to express comes up against the desire to protect and I think this must be just part of the condition of parenting.
How to expand rather than contract? How to be courageous rather than afraid, but without also being foolish? Is such a thing even possible?
I had to ask a student to leave my class, and he hurled unkind invective at me over email; I went to a conference where the very name of my department of work was met with sneers and howls. I've worked too many long days in a row and am having trouble finding any real peace or joy and wonder why and whether we shouldn't throw in the towel and start over somehow.
The trick is to both fully live in the moment and at the same time know that this moment is only for now, and that difficult times pass. I am no good at this trick.
From Prayers for a Thousand Years, Michael Ventura:
"We have entered a new Middle Ages, a time of plague, famine, violence, extreme class disparity, and religious fanaticism--and also (as in the late Middle Ages) a time of profound discovery and change. A time when it is terribly important, and often dangerous, to preserve values and knowledge--to stand up for visions that most of this crazed world can't comprehend or tolerate.
The value of having an inner map of the world as it is (not as it's broadcast) is this: it allows you to know that your task is larger than yourself. If you choose, just by virtue of being a decent person, you are entrusted with passing on something of value through a dark, crazy time--preserving your integrity, in your way, by your acts and your very breathing for those who will build again when this chaos exhausts itself."
Chaos within, chaos without. I suppose only one is within my sphere of influence at the moment.